ARC Review: Royal Captive by Heather Frost

Special thanks to Heather Frost for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

🥳 HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO ROYAL CAPTIVE!!! 🥳

Royal Captive is book three in the Fate of Eyrinthia series.
Read my review for book one here and book two here!

Goodreads: Royal Captive (Fate of Eyrinthia #3)
Publication Date: 18 March 2022
Genre: Young Adult Romance Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

A DECOY trapped in a dangerous lie
A SERJAH searching for the truth
A PRINCE caught in a deadly game
A WORLD choked by secrets

Abducted during a devastating ambush, Clare is now the captive of ruthless mercenaries. Dragged through the wilderness while grieving heart-rending loss, she must maintain the illusion that she is the princess. Because if she lets the mask slip, even for a moment, the Mortisians will have no reason to keep her alive.

After arresting traitors close to the crown, Desfan fights to rebuild his court, knowing that the imminent arrival of the Devendran princess will further upset the precarious balance in Mortise. But Desfan’s world is rocked when he discovers a rumor that rewrites the most devastating event in his life. He will stop at nothing to find the truth–no matter where it leads.

As Grayson struggles to find his footing in Mortise, he discovers new friends and enemies. His life is further complicated by the tenuous alliance with his spymaster brother. With secrets deepening around him, Grayson must decide where his loyalties truly lie. Through it all, his heart remains in Ryden with Mia. Unfortunately, his love for her is no secret, and the Black Hand is a coveted weapon . . .

Eyrinthia holds its breath as allies and enemies collide. Secrets. Lies. Betrayals. Nothing will be the same.


CW/TW: abuse, kidnapping, murder, gore/violence, torture (captive), imprisonment


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Blog Tour Review: Crushing by Sophie Burrows

🥳 Happy Pub Day to Crushing! 🥳

Special thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for inviting me to be on the blog tour and for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: Crushing
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: 11 January 2022
Genre: Graphic Novel, Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

She’s lonely and searching for a connection. He’s lonely and afraid to reach out.
Life in the big city means being surrounded by connections—making them, missing them, and longing for them. But is finding someone else really the answer to their problems?

Crushing, the stunning debut graphic novel from Sophie Burrows, is a story told in silence; a story without words but bursting with meaning; a story about loneliness and love.

Achingly beautiful, quietly defiant, and full of subtle wit and wisdom, Crushing is a unique meditation on the human condition in the twenty-first century, and a timely examination of young adult life in an age of isolation
.

buy a copy

Sophie Burrows is an award winning British writer, illustrator and comics creator. Inspired by the everyday, she loves to tell stories which explore themes of human behaviour, mental health and relationships. In 2019 she graduated from the MA in Children’s Book Illustration course at Cambridge School of Art, and subsequently won Student Illustrator of the Year 2019 at the V&A Illustration Awards.

Her first picture book as writer/illustrator, Ig Pig and Og Frog! was released in 2020, and her debut graphic novel, Crushing , publishes in 2021. Alongside her illustration, Sophie is also an associate lecturer and teaches on the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.

Sophie lives and works in London with her partner Daniel. Besides drawing, she also loves to cook, and enjoys being creative in the kitchen. She is an avid music lover, and often spends her spare time watching live music and going to festivals. 

twitter | Instagram

TL;DR: Crushing is a graphic novel that I think will resonate with many of us because we’ve all felt loneliness and do feel lonely, especially since the pandemic. The artwork was simple, beautiful and vibrant with pops of red amidst the black and white, and the style complemented the quietness of the story very well. There was no plot but we follow the lives of our two protagonists as they navigate their everyday situations, searching for opportunities and connections, and it was simply so relatable. There may not be a happy ever after just yet but it’s certainly a hopeful new beginning! 🥰

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Book Review: Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous

Goodreads: Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: 01 June 2021
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Coming-of-Age

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Sunny Song’s Big Summer Goals:
1) Make Rafael Kim my boyfriend (finally!)
2) Hit 100K followers (almost there…)
3) Have the best last summer of high school ever


Not on Sunny’s list: accidentally filming a PG-13 cooking video that goes viral (#browniegate). Extremely not on her list: being shipped off to a digital detox farm camp in Iowa (IOWA??) for a whole month. She’s traded in her WiFi connection for a butter churn, and if she wants any shot at growing her social media platform this summer, she’ll need to find a way back online.

But between some unexpected friendships and an alarmingly cute farm boy, Sunny might be surprised by the connections she makes when she’s forced to disconnect.

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Blog Tour Review: Kind of Sort of Fine by Spencer Hall

Hello, friends! It’s my stop on The Book Terminal Tours blog tour for Kind of Sort of Fine by Spencer Hall. Special thanks to Atheneum Books for Young Readers for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Kind of Sort of Fine
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: 22 June 2021
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Coming of Age

Panda rating:


Senior year changes everything for two teens in this poignant, funny coming-of-age story that looks at what happens when the image everyone has of us no longer matches who we really are.

Senior year of high school is full of changes.

For Hayley Mills, these changes aren’t exactly welcome. All she wants is for everyone to forget about her very public breakdown and remember her as the overachiever she once was—and who she’s determined to be again. But it’s difficult to be seen as a go-getter when she’s forced into TV Production class with all the slackers like Lewis Holbrook.

For Lewis, though, this is going to be his year. After a summer spent binging 80s movies, he’s ready to upgrade from the role of self-described fat, funny sidekick to leading man of his own life—including getting the girl. The only thing standing in his way is, well, himself.

When the two are partnered up in class, neither is particularly thrilled. But then they start making mini documentaries about their classmates’ hidden talents, and suddenly Hayley is getting attention for something other than her breakdown, and Lewis isn’t just a background character anymore. It seems like they’re both finally getting what they want—except what happens when who you’ve become isn’t who you really are?

BUY IT NOW:

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Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Royal Spy by Heather Frost

Hello, friends! I’m back today with a blog tour for Royal Spy (Fate of Eyrinthia #2) by Heather Frost. Thanks to the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour at the end of my post!

Royal Spy is book two in the Fate of Eyrinthia series. You can read my review for book one here.

Goodreads: Royal Spy (Fate of Eyrinthia #2)
Publication Date: 20 May 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

A DECOY recruited to be a spy.
A PRINCE compelled to become an assassin.
A SERJAH pressured by an unwanted crown.
A WORLD covered in shadows.

Mere months ago, Clare was just a kitchen maid. Now, she is a decoy for Princess Serene and a novice spy, caught in the royal family’s web of secrets. While journeying to Mortise to finalize the princess’s betrothal to Serjah Desfan, Clare lives for the stolen moments she has with Bennick, the bodyguard who is quickly claiming her heart. But when a notorious assassin is hired to kill her, Clare’s life and the alliance hang in the balance.

In Ryden, Grayson prepares to leave for Mortise with his brother, Liam. Their orders are to ignite a war between their enemies, and Grayson has been tasked with assassinating Princess Serene. It may cost his soul, but he is ready to comply, as long as he gets something in return: freedom for Mia, the girl he loves. But the more time he spends with his brother, the more he begins to wonder if Liam is what Grayson wishes he had the courage to be . . . a traitor. 

Desfan feels trapped. By his disapproving council, his impending marriage to a stranger, and the imminent arrival of enemy princes who may not want the peace they profess. When a dangerous drug threatens his people, Desfan jumps at the chance to rely on his swords instead of politics. But his investigation uncovers more than he bargained for—a plot that may destroy Mortise from within.

Eyrinthia hovers on the edge of war. Spies. Rebels. Traitors. All must choose a side.

CW/TW: abuse, kidnapping, murder, gore/violence

Pre-order Royal Spy and fill out the form to receive an EXCLUSIVE short story from Bennick’s POV: The Decoy and the Bodyguard

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Blog Tour Review: The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk.
Special thanks to Netgalley and Little Brown Books for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: The Other Side of Perfect
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publication Date: 11 May 2021
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Panda Rating:

(actual 4.5 pandas)

Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but one terrifying fall shatters her leg–and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it. 

After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected–namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive cast mate she just might be falling for. 

But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she had grown to accept in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet–something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else? 

Touching, romantic, and peppered with humor, this debut novel explores the tenuousness of perfectionism, the possibilities of change, and the importance of raising your voice. 

CW/TW: the protagonist is dealing with a lot of anger and some depression, various experiences of racism, bullying

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Blog Tour Review: Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

Hello, hello friends! I’m so excited to be back for another blog tour with @TheWriteReads today for a highly anticipated YA contemporary: Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour: here! 😍

Special thanks to Penguin and @The_WriteReads tours team for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Kate in Waiting
Publisher: Penguin
Published: 22 April 2021
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

From bestselling YA rom-com queen Becky Albertalli (author of Love, Simon) comes a new novel about daring to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight in love, life and theatre.

[PRINCIPAL CAST LIST]

Kate Garfield
Anderson Walker

Best friends, and contrary to popular belief, not co-dependent. Examples:

Carpooling to and from theatre rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient.
Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment.
Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off-script.

Enter Stage Left: Matt Olsson

He is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship…

BUY NOW:

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Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Unwritten by Alicia J. Novo

I’m so excited to be back with a blog tour with Xpresso Tours for Unwritten by Alicia J. Novo. Special thanks to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner above to check out the other bloggers on tour!
Also, don’t forget to enter the GIVEWAY at the end of my post!

Goodreads: Unwritten (The Zeeshwen Chronicles #1)
Publish Date: 08 May 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(3 pandas)

Books whisper to Beatrix Alba. But they aren’t the reason she has never fit in. Bullied at home and school, she keeps a secret—a power of violence and darkness.

When the spell that keeps her hidden fails, she’s catapulted into the Zweeshen, a realm where all tales live, and her dream of meeting her favorite characters comes true. But wishes are tricky, and behind its wonder and whimsy, the Zweeshen is under attack. A character is burning bookworlds in pursuit of a weapon to rule both stories and storytellers. To succeed, he needs a riddle in Beatrix’s possession.

Now he’s hunting her down.

Joining forces with William, a cursed conjurer, Beatrix must face an enemy who knows her every weakness in a realm where witches play with time, Egyptian gods roam, and Regency heroines lead covert operations. And with her darkness as the only weapon, she may have to sacrifice everything to save a world that rejects her.

PRE-ORDER:

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ARC Review: Namesake by Adrienne Young

Thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books/St Martin’s Press for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Check out my review for Fable (Fable #1)!

Goodreads: Namesake (Fable #2)
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: 16 March 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems. As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

TL;DR: Overall, a very satisfying and neatly wrapped up conclusion to this duology. If you love stories full of action, a strong female lead, a cast of morally grey characters that you also can’t help but root for (mostly), and a setting in which the sea comes to life off the pages, I would highly recommend checking out these books! Also, major cover appreciation to this set of covers because they’re STUNNING!

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Goodreads Monday – The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

Welcome back to Goodreads Monday! It’s been a very hot minute since I did one but I figured I might as well get back into it! This weekly meme was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners and it invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.*

*Sorry if a book has been featured twice. I need to make better note of which ones I’ve done already!

This week’s featured book is The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara. This is a literary historical fiction with elements of magical realism and is Yanagihara’s debut back in 2014.

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